Highway 50, east of Avondale, was closed after a three-vehicle crash injured five and fatally wounded a sixth. An ambulance on its way to Colorado Springs with a patient onboard struck an Xcel Energy pickup truck that was attempting to make a left hand turn. The ambulance clipped the back bumper of the truck, sending it into oncoming traffic where it collided with a Mountaineer.
The ambulance continued forward about 60 feet before turning over into a ditch, injuring the ambulance crew inside. The patient being transported by ambulance was air lifted by Flight for Life to Colorado Springs but did not survive the trauma of the crash.
While there are many issues in this tragic accident, one revolves around paying for the medical care and lost wages of those involved. For the ambulance crew and those in the Xcel truck, regardless of fault, injuries sustained on the job in Colorado may be covered by workers’ compensation. Police are unsure at this point whether the ambulance was traveling at a higher speed with its lights flashing or not.
While a motor vehicle accident may not be considered a typical workers’ comp injury, if the crash involves workers who were carrying out the duties of their job at the time of the accident, related medical expenses and lost wages should be covered by workers’ compensation.
Colorado workers’ compensation covers both obvious on-the-job accidents as well as injuries that build over time. An obvious on-the-job accident may be the ambulance crash just discussed, falling from scaffolding or being struck by a falling object or piece of machinery while at work, among others. Not-so-obvious injuries may include repetitive use trauma, like carpal tunnel syndrome or back and knee problems.
Sometimes there is a question about workers’ compensation coverage for injuries that occur away from a specific worksite, also like the ambulance crash. As long as you were there for work purposes, any injury should be covered by workers’ compensation.
Source: The Pueblo Chieftan, “3-vehicle accident kills one east of Pueblo,” John Norton, March 2, 2012